Medicinal Practices

The Añangu community has a great understanding of the natural medicines that are stored in their jungle. Young people, adults, men and women know the advantages of plants. This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation. Several people shared their knowledge on this subject: Mauricio Jipa, Lida Lola Grefa, Enma Cerda, Jacinta Martina Yumbo, Carmela Andi and Nidia Cerda. Here is some of the wisdom of the Kichwa people of the Amazon:

Python bark:To purify blood in the postpartum period. The python seed is used to clean the stomach, taken when a woman has given birth and for malaria. The oil from this seed is also used to cure the pimples.

Boa butter: In case of sprains, fractures or flu.

Verbena:To cure various diseases such as vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, even for the plague contracted by domestic birds.

Tobacco:To cure flu, blows, etc., a product used mainly by Yachay Runas, healers and midwives.

Ginger:To cure stomach pain, flu; also used in food as a condiment. It can be taken cooked when you have diarrhea or cough. You take one teaspoon in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

Cat's Claw: Serves for body pain and when women lose a lot of blood during menstruation. Helps decrease muscle aches and heart disease. Cook until a little water is left and drink.

Guayusa:This plant is part of the community ritual. It is taken with the family at dawn, and it is used in the same way as coffee in the cities, that is, to eliminate laziness, since it gives energy for work. In the past, parents and grandparents drank it during the whole morning, from there they began to work weaving shigra, chambira, with energy and courage to go to work. It's also good for avoiding snake bites, when people take plenty of guayusa the snake goes away.

Chuchuwashu:It is a plant that is made in infusion and is taken when you have diarrhea, for menstrual cramps or pain from trauma.

Paparahua leaf, frutipan mogollo:Used to lose weight, taken for 15 days in a row.

Drago Blood:Serves to relieve stomach pains, helps stop diarrhea and stop menstrual cramps. It has healing properties, it closes external cuts and helps when the gums are hurt. A drop is taken with breakfast, lunch and snack.

Wito:It is a peach-like fruit, it is scratched or cooked on fire, then crushed and a liquid comes out; when it thickens and darkens, it is placed on clean hair. Used to paint hair black.

Ungi panga:It is a plant similar to the tree tomato. Sometimes it is in the jungle and sometimes in the farm, it is cooked and given a treatment of 15 days, serves to prevent heart attack.

Chayua caspicara:The paichi leaf and a crust are cooked. Helps cure coughs. It is drunk in the morning like coffee, also at lunch and snack time.

Virgen sisa:It is a flower that helps women when they want to give birth and cannot. You make water with the flower. Sisa means flower in kichwa.

Peanut leaf:When the woman has given birth, it helps the belly come down to its place.

Avocado leaf:To avoid pain when giving birth.

Chumbillullo:Helps heal when someone is hurt or cut. It is cooked, washed and toasted in the charcoal. The little powder that's left is collected and put in the wound.

Ajopango:For when kids have the flu.

Puma huasca:It is a climbing vine that is cut, the bark is scraped, the whole shell is put, it is cut in four pieces and it is cooked. It's good for curing colic, diarrhea. Especially for children when they are vomiting or when they have diarrhea.

Surupanga:The yachag uses it to bring out the bad. When you take ayahuasca, you hallucinate, take out the bad and put in the good energies. Its root is very good for gastritis, as it has a strong stem. It was used before by the Huaorani Indians as a knife to cut the animals.

Cruz caspi:Very strong and hard plant, men wear their bark for family planning. It is taken from where the sun rises and where the sun is hidden, from the same tree, from 12 trees. Then it's taken to the house and it is cooked. The woman must take it for four days after four days of menstruation to avoid becoming pregnant. Too much consumption can make you sterile. Its flower is red, from that flower come new leaves, and that leaf is used by women to grow hair.

Cow’s heart:It is a leaf identical to the heart of a cow, it is always found on the banks of rivers in the primary forest. Three or four leaves are taken from this seedling; it is a single stem, its leaf is very wide. It is cooked for 15, 20 minutes and taken when women bleed or miss their menstruation date.

In addition to this abundant wisdom about natural medicine, the community has a health center, because if the plants do not work, you can turn to modern medicine. Jiovanny Rivadeniera says that today they are working together with the State, which has a health centre with western medicine. This center is not only for the community, but for all the surrounding communities. Traditional medicine is used, but as each family has its own knowledge, medicinal plants are being cultivated in the community garden. In addition, the power of the yachak runa or wise man, who brings his knowledge and care to the community, is trusted. Although the yachak of the community died recently, the community is waiting for a new wise man to emerge.

Today, however, most women do not give birth in a clinic, instead, they go to a midwife, as it is part of Kichwa culture to give a normal birth. Only in case of complications, for example, if a woman does not have strength, then she is transferred to Pompeya for treatment. It's rare for such a thing to happen, because midwives have a lot of experience and get babies born without problems. They prepare some liquids that mix avocado leaves and gunpowder, release it in water, boil it and drink it: this reduces pain. You give birth standing, kneeling, or lying down. Midwives are always women, because among women there is confidence for this process.